In The News

In The News

Cuba launches exports to U.S.

Cuba sent its first load of charcoal to the U.S. this week.
Fred Katayama reports.

Cuba looks to rake in more money from charcoal. Cuba sent its initial load to the U.S. this week. Just $17,000 worth so it was largely symbolic. But it was the first legal Cuban export to the U.S. in five decades. Those shipments coming despite President Trump’s threat to undo the U.S. deal with Cuba. Cuban Agricultural Ministry official Wilfredo Arregui: SOUNDBITE: WILFREDO ARREGUI, OFFICIAL, CUBAN MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE (SPANISH) SAYING: “We continue to produce, independently of how the politics in the United States develops.” Cuba ships charcoal to six countries and hopes to add Britain and Germany as customers. As exports increase, charcoal worker Rolando Rodriguez says life has improved. SOUNDBITE: ROLANDO RODRIGUEZ, CHARCOAL WORKER, (SPANISH) SPEAKING: “As charcoal was exported, the salary got better. We could get things we didn’t have before, which we now have.” The U.S. trade embargo remains, but President Obama facilitated some commercial links. Cuba’s economy fell into a recession last year, so it hopes to boost trade with the U.S.


Charcoal — first legal cargo from Cuba in more than 50 years — arrives at Port Everglades

The Miami Herald

January 24, 2017 1:46 PM

The first Cuban exports since the embargo went into effect over a half century ago arrived at Port Everglades Tuesday as port officials prepared to receive a business delegation from Cuba later in the week.

The delegation also plans to visit the Port of Palm Beach, which is located in Riviera Beach, and Port Tampa Bay during a swing through the United States that has already included a stop at the Port of Houston. Also on the itinerary are visits to the Port of New Orleans and the Port of Virginia in Norfolk and meetings with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C., members of Congress and the American Association of Port Authorities, which is holding a conference in Tampa.

Two containers of artisanal charcoal made from Cuban Marabú, an invasive woody species from Africa that is considered a nuisance on the island, arrived at the Fort Lauderdale port aboard a Crowley Maritime ship called the K-Storm. The charcoal exports, which are produced by private worker-owned cooperatives, are legal under a rule change by the former Obama administration that allows the importation of some products produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs.

Read more here.


Sorry, no (Cuban) cigar. Just charcoal. Marabu charcoal.

PRI’s The World

Reneo Consulting Announces Deal to Bring First Cuban Export to U.S. in More than Half a Century

Agreement Marks New Era of Trade Between U.S. and Cuba

 Washington, D.C., January 5, 2017 – Reneo Consulting LLC announced today that its subsidiary company Coabana Trading LLC has finalized an agreement with Cuba Export to import into the United States Marabu (sicklebush) charcoal produced in Cuba. This marks the first time in more than half a century that a Cuban-produced product will be exported from Cuba and sold in the United States.

“This is truly a momentous occasion,” said Scott Gilbert, Chairman of Reneo. “Marabu charcoal is widely viewed as the best artisanal charcoal in the world.   Now US consumers will be able to purchase this product, as have Europeans and others for many years.”

“More importantly,” Gilbert emphasized, “this marks the beginning of a new era of trade between the United States and Cuba. This is a perfect example of a win-win for both our countries. The Marabu plant is an invasive weed that clogs otherwise fertile organic fields in Cuba – now it can be used to produce this fantastic artisanal charcoal, thereby clearing the fields and making them available for agricultural growth.”

“Marabu charcoal is cut and produced by private Cuban cooperatives, providing them with a growing market less than 100 miles away. This is but the first step in what should be a blossoming trade relationship involving many different products,” said Gilbert.

“Of course,” Gilbert added, “we still are severely limited in what we can do by the so-called embargo, the most severe trade and travel restrictions we have imposed on any country in the world. This demonstrably failed relic of the cold war should be consigned to the trash heap of history, where it belongs. For those who may disagree, I urge you to travel to Cuba, to interact with the Cuban people, to see what works and what does not, and then to make a considered judgment. In the meantime, we will do all that we can to expand our economic relations with the people of Cuba.”

Cuban Marabu charcoal should be available in the United States in early 2017, marketed by Fogo Charcoal, a subsidiary of Susshi International Inc. and sold through various retailers.

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About Reneo Consulting LLC

Reneo Consulting LLC is a strategic consulting firm helping businesses, private and public organizations, and individuals resolve their most intractable and complicated challenges. Reneo is well-versed in crisis management and international strategic negotiation among other practices which ensure our clients’ core business interests are maintained.